Opera Video Cache player

Obsolete - replaced by VideoPlayer.

Opera cache browser screenshot

Opera Video Cache player (OVCp) is a specialized front-end (GUI) for mplayer that allows to look through Opera 11 cache folder and try to play files that looks like video (i.e. cached flash video files) with mplayer. With this application you can play cached (or partially cached!) files outside browser window and save them for later (cached files are deleted when browser window is closed). Using mplayer instead of browser plugin significantly reduces CPU usage - that may be important when playing H.264 encoded files with 720p or higher resolution.

Opera 10 and older stored all cached files inside profile/cache folder thus making it fairly easy look into that folder and sort files by modification date to find lately cached flash video files (or files that are currently downloading but still possible to play outside Opera/flash plugin i.e. with mplayer). Since Opera 11 cached files are spread across 128 subdirectories that are used in a circular way. I believe this change was motivated by performance loss with large numbers of files inside single directory causing delays visible i.e. when trying to list/sort over 20000 files cached after few days without closing browser. This change made it more difficult to get access to cached files outside browser.

OVCp consumes minimal amount of desktop space when playing files and keeps specified by user size and position allowing to work with i.e. editor while simultaneously playing partially or fully cached video files.
Playing web video while caching

To use this application you have to download mplayer for Windows (i.e. bundled with SMplayer). Configuration requires selecting mplayer instance that will be used and Opera cache directory.
Configuration: Opera cache folder location

Application - in theory - could used with other browsers - uncheck "Scan only g_xxxx subdirectories (Opera 11)" and select folder used by browser, most likely C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Local Settings\Temp directory. If you are looking for files cached by DivX player check for "DivX Movies" inside My Documents/My Video folder. Unfortunately when using Firefox 4 temporary files are locked and cannot be shared with other application. When trying to use Unlocker application to unlock file while it is buffered buffering stops immediately. I have no idea what is causing this behavior, only option is to copy file using Unlocker after it is completely buffered.

Problems with HTML5 and VP8/WebM (October 2012)

From few months youtube is testing HTML5 video. Unfortunately I couldn't find any mplayer build supporting cached Opera files with VP8/WebM video. I suppose that it will change with time, but for now simplest solution is to turn off HTML5 video on youtube. Go to context menu on HTML5 video and click "About HTML5" to leave test program.
Disable HTML5 video on youtube
In my subjective opinion Flash video quality is significantly better than HTML5 when comparing low and middle resolution youtube videos (no H.264 support in Opera). Also Opera 12.02 often can't start HTML5 video (no reaction to play/pause) and the only way to start it is to reload page or use rewind option. Playing HTML5 in "true" full screen requires also switching browser to full screen and it is quite inconvenient.

Flash video buffering problems on youtube (2012.12)

Lately (staring in April 2012 depending on location) the way that youtube Flash videos buffer was changed - they are downloaded in 1.7MB chunks and are unplayable by mplayer or VLC. Additionaly when video playback is paused buffering also pauses. One remedy for this problem is switching video resolution to 480p or higher - apparently they buffer in a old way.
It seems that some changed was made to WebM/VP8 video encoding in meantime - most of them is recognized by mplayer (unchanged version) now. Thus enabling HTML5 would be second way to get around Flash video chunking problem.
Old buffering method is also applied if movie resolution is switched while playing video (regardless of target resolution value).

Changelog and downloads

Note: in default configuration mplayer seems to be configured to use directx output (vo=directx in config file) and it doesn't work on second monitor displaying either green or black screen. One remedy for this is manually specifying display adapter in config file (e.g. adding adapter=2 line) but it is inconvenient if player window would be dragged from one screen to another. It looks like changing vo to direct3d might be better option - mplayer works on both screens in this case. This also allows to run two mplayer instances at the same time with no problems (the problem itself might be related to my integrated graphics as I don't recall it from the time I was using nvidia mx200). On the minus side - with directx there problems with displaying OVCP button bar when video is playing but personally I'm preferring keyboard control anyway.

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